Justin Taylor ’15 – For six weeks this summer I worked with Charlie Kelly ’11 at his start-up company SquareJive. SquareJive is a phone app that aggregates local events in Indy and lets its users get information on events, details on venues, and purchase tickets right from their phone. It is the content that I managed. My job was to find the information and create the proper pages for it across different mediums like the app, website, and blog. If it does not sound like the most riveting job ever you might be right, but it is an important part of keeping the company going so the responsibility was one I have enjoyed taking on.
Working with the Content Management System (CMS) for SquareJive has given me a new level of insight on the inner workings of websites and systems. Insight that is extremely valuable to me as I work to create my own web based company. The true value of this Lilly Business Internship has brought for me comes outside of the realm of my assigned duties though. I have gotten the opportunity to watch another entrepreneur as he works to build a profitable busines from the ground up. That means watching him build strategies, prep for presentations, make hires/fires, and make a 180-degree pivot in the concept/direction of his company. An inability to pivot is a reason why many startups fail. The necessity to create new strategies makes them hard, but what really makes them so difficult is that you are usually required to step away from a great deal of your current progress. For Charlie that meant rebranding, redesigning, and remodeling his company. Being involved in this process taught me a great deal about the inner workings of a small business and showed me the personal characteristics, along with sacrifices, required if you want to see your startup reach any pinnacle of success. Courage, determination, passion, and hardheadedness are just a few of these characteristics that I witnessed.
I hope that leaving SquareJive I left it better than I found it. I know that it has done that for both me and my company. A company that recently made a major pivot stepping away from a project that we had invested a great deal of capital into in hopes of giving us a better chance and being one of the few companies that actually makes it. I can honestly say if it was not for this summer and the guidance of a good friend/mentor we would not have made. The experience has been great and I hope that others realize that opportunities that are out there through programs and internships like this one.